The Explorer Magazine Fall 2022 | Page 16

The park opened to the public on July 21 , 2021 , but that doesn ’ t mean that we ’ ve stopped developing it !
Fish in the Ponds Last fall , the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife stocked the ponds at Gibbs with thousands of bass , bluegill , and redear fingerlings , plus young channel catfish . Those fish have continued to grow , and we anticipate that they ’ ll reach a minimum harvestable size in the spring or summer of 2023 .
The ponds at Gibbs will become consumptive fisheries when the fish are large enough , allowing anglers to keep what they catch . There will be no charge to fish at the park . Fishing licenses , bag limits , size limits , and all other Indiana laws will be enforced by Indiana DNR conservation officers .
In the future , look for fishing programs and fishing derbies to be held at W . S . Gibbs Memorial Park .
Swings Added to the Playground This summer , we added swings to the park ’ s playgrounds ! There are two belt swings , two infant bucket swings , two special needs seat swings , and a tire swing .
These swings were purchased with funds from private donations handled by the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County .
Electricity at the Shelters Hendricks Power & Light Cooperative ran electrical lines into the park for us , which
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allowed us to install electrical outlets at Bluegill and Firefly Shelters . Now you can bring those Crock- Pots to your get-togethers !
Gutters , Downspouts and Snow Guards We have added gutters and downspouts to Bluegill and Firefly Shelters that will help keep water out from under the pavilions when it rains . Snow guards have also been installed on the roof of each shelter .
Plants , Grass and Trees As you might imagine , a year after being planted , the turf grass , prairie grass and native wildflowers have taken hold in what used to be farmland . Most of the trees that were planted before the Grand Opening have survived their first year in the park , and additional trees have been planted throughout the park by our maintenance crew , Boy Scouts , and volunteer groups since the park opened .
Our maintenance crew has also made significant progress on selectively clearing wooded areas between the developed portion of the park and the undeveloped 70 acres that is also owned by the Hendricks County Park Board . As they did in Phase I , the crew is removing dead , invasive , and undesirable trees and foliage , leaving the healthy native plants and trees to flourish .
Future Plans Future plans for W . S . Gibbs Memorial Park include installation of modern restrooms , an ADA-accessible dock in the smaller pond , and expansion of and improvement to the park ’ s trail system . Additionally , plans are in the works for a maintenance hub to be built within the undeveloped 70 acres of the property , which will allow our maintenance crew to care for Gibbs much more efficiently .